• 18 Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Research
    with Robert J. Gatchel and Perry N. Fuchs
    In B. L. Gant & M. E. Schatman (eds.), Ethical Issues in Chronic Pain Management, . pp. 295. 2006.
    As the above quote clearly highlights, it is the responsibility of researchers and research supervisors to be certain that their research staff and students assistants are very familiar with all of the ethical principles and current standards relevant to the research they are conducting. Indeed, they must take an active role in being certain that their research staff and students complete appropriate training in these ethical principles and standards, and how they apply them to the research cont…Read more
  • Animal pain
    Noûs 38 (4). 2004.
    Which nonhuman animals experience conscious pain?1 This question is central to the debate about animal welfare, as well as being of basic interest to scientists and philosophers of mind. Nociception—the capacity to sense noxious stimuli—is one of the most primitive sensory capacities. Neurons functionally specialized for nociception have been described in invertebrates such as the leech Hirudo medicinalis and the marine snail Aplysia californica (Walters 1996). Is all nociception accompanied by …Read more
  • Deciphering animal pain
    In Murat Aydede (ed.), Pain: New Essays on Its Nature and the Methodology of Its Study, Bradford Book/mit Press. 2005.
    In this paper we1 assess the potential for research on nonhuman animals to address questions about the phenomenology of painful experiences. Nociception, the basic capacity for sensing noxious stimuli, is widespread in the animal kingdom. Even rel- atively primitive animals such as leeches and sea slugs possess nociceptors, neurons that are functionally specialized for sensing noxious stimuli (Walters 1996). Vertebrate spinal cords play a sophisticated role in processing and modulating nocicepti…Read more
  • 14. Real Traits, Real Functions?
    In Andre Ariew, Robert C. Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology, Oxford University Press. pp. 373. 2002.
    Discussions of the functions of biological traits generally take the notion of a trait for granted. Defining this notion is a non-trivial problem. Different approaches to function place different constraints on adequate accounts of the notion of a trait. Accounts of function based on engineering-style analyses allow trait boundaries to be a matter of human interest. Accounts of function based on natural selection have typically been taken to require trait boundaries that are objectively real. Af…Read more
  • Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called “mirror neurons” in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionality, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behav…Read more
  • As arti® cial intelligence moves ever closer to the goal of producing fully autonomous agents, the question of how to design and implement an arti® cial moral agent (AMA) becomes increasingly pressing. Robots possessing autonomous capacities to do things that are useful to humans will also have the capacity to do things that are harmful to humans and other sentient beings. Theoretical challenges to developing arti® cial moral agents result both from controversies among ethicists about moral theo…Read more
  • Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called "mirror neurons" in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires higher-order intentionahty, a paradox arises. Different ways of resolving the paradox are assessed, using evidence from neural, cognitive, and behavi…Read more
  • It is widely accepted that many species of non-human animals appear to engage in transitive inference, producing appropriate responses to novel pairings of non-adjacent members of an ordered series without previous experience of these pairings. Some researchers have taken this capability as providing direct evidence that these animals reason. Others resist such declarations, favouring instead explanations in terms of associative conditioning. Associative accounts of transitive inference have bee…Read more
  • Animal Behavior
    In Michael Ruse (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology, Oxford University Press. pp. 327--348. 2008.
    Few areas of scientific investigation have spawned more alternative approaches than animal behavior: comparative psychology, ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behavioral endocrinology, behavioral neuroscience, neuroethology, behavioral genetics, cognitive ethology, developmental psychobiology---the list goes on. Add in the behavioral sciences focused on the human animal, and you can continue the list with ethnography, biological anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology (c…Read more
  • Is anyone a cognitive ethologist?
    Biology and Philosophy 19 (4): 589-607. 2004.
  • A skeptic's progress
    Biology and Philosophy 17 (5): 695-702. 2002.
    Seven chimpanzees in twenty-seven experiments run over the course of five years at his University of Louisiana laboratory in New Iberia, Louisiana, are at the heart of Daniel Povinelli’s case that chimpanzee thinking about the physical world is not at all like that of humans. Chimps, according to Povinelli and his coauthors James Reaux, Laura Theall, and Steve Giambrone, are phenomenally quick at learning to associate visible features of tools with specific uses of those tools, but they appear to …Read more
  • Animal consciousness
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005.
  • The close kinship between humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans is a central theme among participants in the debate about human treatment of the other apes. Empathy is probably the single most important determinant of actual human moral behavior, including the treatment of nonhuman animals. Given the applied nature of questions about the treatment of captive apes, it is entirely appropriate that the close relationship between us should be highlighted. But the role that relatedness should…Read more
  • A Tale of Two Froggies
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (Supplement): 105-115. 2001.
    There once was an ugly duckling. Except he wasn’t a duckling at all, and once he realized his error he lived happily ever after. And there you have an early primer from the animal literature on the issue of misrepresentation -- perhaps one of the few on this topic to have a happy ending. Philosophers interested in misrepresentation have turned their attention to a different fairy tale animal: the frog. No one gets kissed in this story and the controversial issue of self-recognition is avoided. T…Read more
  • Private codes and public structures
    In David McFarland, Keith Stenning & Maggie McGonigle (eds.), The Complex Mind, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 223. 2012.
  • Artificial morality: Top-down, bottom-up, and hybrid approaches (review)
    with Iva Smit and Wendell Wallach
    Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3): 149-155. 2005.
    A principal goal of the discipline of artificial morality is to design artificial agents to act as if they are moral agents. Intermediate goals of artificial morality are directed at building into AI systems sensitivity to the values, ethics, and legality of activities. The development of an effective foundation for the field of artificial morality involves exploring the technological and philosophical issues involved in making computers into explicit moral reasoners. The goal of this paper is t…Read more
  • Mental content and evolutionary explanation
    Biology and Philosophy 7 (1): 1-12. 1992.
    Cognitive ethology is the comparative study of animal cognition from an evolutionary perspective. As a sub-discipline of biology it shares interest in questions concerning the immediate causes and development of behavior. As a part of ethology it is also concerned with questions about the function and evolution of behavior. I examine some recent work in cognitive ethology, and I argue that the notions of mental content and representation are important to enable researchers to answer questions an…Read more
  •   Many psychologists and philosophers believe that the close correlation between human language and human concepts makes the attribution of concepts to nonhuman animals highly questionable. I argue for a three-part approach to attributing concepts to animals. The approach goes beyond the usual discrimination tests by seeking evidence for self-monitoring of discrimination errors. Such evidence can be collected without relying on language and, I argue, the capacity for error-detection can only be …Read more
  • The Geometry of Partial Understanding
    American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (3): 249-262. 2013.
    Wittgenstein famously ended his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (Wittgenstein 1922) by writing: "Whereof one cannot speak, one must pass over in silence." (Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.) In that earliest work, Wittgenstein gives no clue about whether this aphorism applied to animal minds, or whether he would have included philosophical discussions about animal minds as among those displaying "the most fundamental confusions (of which the whole of philosophy is full)" …Read more
  • Animal play and the evolution of morality: An ethological approach
    with Marc Bekoff
    Topoi 24 (2): 125-135. 2005.
      In this paper we argue that there is much to learn about “wild justice” and the evolutionary origins of morality – behaving fairly – by studying social play behavior in group-living mammals. Because of its relatively wide distribution among the mammals, ethological investigation of play, informed by interdisciplinary cooperation, can provide a comparative perspective on the evolution of ethical behavior that is broader than is provided by the usual focus on primate sociality. Careful analysis …Read more
  • Animal Minds, Cognitive Ethology, and Ethics
    with Marc Bekoff
    The Journal of Ethics 11 (3): 299-317. 2007.
    Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists’ arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animal cognition as if their interpretation…Read more
  • The discovery of animal consciousness: An optimistic assessment (review)
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 10 (3): 217-225. 1997.
  • The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy: A developed dynamic reference work
    with Uri Nodelman and Edward N. Zalta
    In James Moor & Terrell Ward Bynum (eds.), Metaphilosophy, Blackwell. pp. 210-228. 2002.
    In this entry, the authors outline the goals of a "dynamic reference work", and explain how the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has been designed to achieve those goals.
  • Ethics and the science of animal minds
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (4): 375-394. 2006.
    Ethicists have commonly appealed to science to bolster their arguments for elevating the moral status of nonhuman animals. I describe a framework within which I take many ethicists to be making such appeals. I focus on an apparent gap in this framework between those properties of animals that are part of the scientific consensus, and those to which ethicists typically appeal in their arguments. I will describe two different ways of diminishing the appearance of the gap, and argue that both of th…Read more
  • The application of digital humanities techniques to philosophy is changing the way scholars approach the discipline. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the difficulties, methods, opportunities, and dangers of creating and utilizing a formal representation of the discipline of philosophy. We review our current project, the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project, which uses a combination of automated methods and expert feedback to create a dynamic computational ontology for the disci…Read more
  • A Conceptual and Computational Model of Moral Decision Making in Human and Artificial Agents
    with Wendell Wallach and Stan Franklin
    Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3): 454-485. 2010.
    Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational models of this kind has created the field of artificial general intelligence (AGI). Moral decision making is arguabl…Read more
  • Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints w…Read more
  • Cognitive ethology and the intentionality of animal behavior
    with Marc Bekoff
    Mind and Language 10 (4): 313-328. 1995.
  • The demise of behaviorism has made ethologists more willing to ascribe mental states to animals. However, a methodology that can avoid the charge of excessive anthropomorphism is needed. We describe a series of experiments that could help determine whether the behavior of nonhuman animals towards dead conspecifics is concept mediated. These experiments form the basis of a general point. The behavior of some animals is clearly guided by complex mental processes. The techniques developed by compar…Read more
  • The heart of this book is the reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition.